MLB Win Totals: Four Best Bets From a Baseball Guru

MLB season win totals have been released, and former Vegas bookmaker Micah Roberts has strong opinions on how to bet several teams. Here are his first four selections for SportsLine.

 



I absolutely love it when the Atlantis Casino Resort in Reno posts the first MLB season win totals because its a wake-up call that spring is near with pitchers and catchers arriving soon.

It means baseball is upon us; we can start arguing with buddies about the merits of our favorite teams.

In my first glance at the numbers, several teams immediately stood out. Here are four I'm targeting, and make sure to check back later this week for Part 2 of my season win total picks.

 

BALTIMORE ORIOLES O/U 84.5 WINS

I like to joke that the best way for Baltimore to win its first World Series since 1983 is to get rid of manager Buck Showalter. It worked for the Yankees and Diamondbacks did, who won the very next season after giving him the axe.

But Showalter is the entire reason to trust the team will play competitively all season. They've won 85 or more games four of the past five seasons, making the playoffs three times. Despite a starting rotation that didn't scare anyone, they won 89 games last season aided by a bullpen that was No. 1 in converting saves (79 percent) and a lineup that was No. 1 with 253 homers.

Still unsigned is C Matt Wieters, but MLB home run leader Mark Trumbo (47) is back in the fold, and I trust in Buck to get the job done and win at least 85 games.

Pick: Over

MINNESOTA TWINS O/U 70.5 WINS

My initial thought was that I missed some major transactions, because the number suggests the Twins are much better than their MLB worst 59-103 record last year.

They did acquire catcher Jason Castro, who is much better than his .211 batting average from the past two seasons in Houston, but the pitching staff that was second-to-worst with a 5.03 ERA in 2016 looks the same.

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Signing middle-reliever Matt Belisle should help a bullpen that converted only 56 percent of its save opportunities, but getting 71 wins appears to be a stretch when most of their games will be against tough AL Central teams; the Twins went 24-52 in the division last year.

The awful pitching staff helped make the Twins the best Over team last season (95-59) while also making them the worst team to bet (-3,129 units).

Pick: Under

ATLANTA BRAVES O/U 71.5 WINS

The Braves have won 68 or fewer games the past two seasons, but their rapidly improving roster has the look of being very competitive in SunTrust Park's inaugural season.

They have a nice lineup with veterans like 1B Freddie Freeman, LF Matt Kemp and RF Nick Markakis mixed in with future stars like 3B Adonis Garcia and SS Dansby Swanson. I also really like CF Ender Inciarte and the undervalued addition of Sean Rodriguez, who can play everywhere.

Pitching wins games, and their top four starters of Julio Teheran, Bartolo Colon, Jaime Garcia and R.A. Dickey have me believing this team can actually win 80 games. Their bullpen is still a bit shaky, but I feel good about them winning at least 72 games.

Pick: Over

KANSAS CITY ROYALS O/U 80.5 WINS

The Royals have won 81 or more games each of the past four seasons, but come into 2017 with a bullpen that doesn't look nearly as intimidating as it did in any of those years. Wade Davis is gone and Kelvin Herrera takes over as the closer.

But I still like the everyday players and the additions of DH Brandon Moss and RF Jorge Soler. I especially like their 1-2 combination in the rotation with Danny Duffy and Ian Kennedy. If they can get anything out of Jason Hammel and a healthy Jason Vargas, they'll be contending for the AL Central.

K.C. went 46-30 in the division last year despite its 5-14 mark versus Cleveland. The Royals may be one of the most underrated teams coming into spring.

Pick: Over

MLB WIN TOTALS, ATLANTIS CASINO RESORT, RENO

AL EAST
Red Sox 90.5
Blue Jays 86.5
Orioles 84.5
Yankees 83.5
Rays 75.5

AL CENTRAL
Indians 92.5
Tigers 85.5
Royals 80.5
White Sox 73.5
Twins 70.5

AL WEST
Astros 87.5
Rangers 86.5
Mariners 85.5
Angels 76.5
Athletics 66.5

NL EAST
Nationals 90.5
Mets 89.5
Marlins 77.5
Phillies 72.5
Braves 71.5

NL CENTRAL
Cubs 95.5
Cardinals 87.5
Pirates 85.5
Reds 73.5
Brewers 72.5

NL WEST
Dodgers 91.5
Giants 87.5
Rockies 79.5
Diamondbacks 78.5
Padres 64.5